“The best news is Fabregas. Fabregas now is very well. He’s training with the team during the week, so now he has only to improve his physical condition. I think that, in a few days or a week, he’ll be ready to play.
“So yesterday there were some problems with fever for Emerson and Zappacosta, and a little problem after the match with the national team for Loftus-Cheek, with the right tibia.
“I don’t know the situation today because I have to speak with the doctor. I don’t know if he’ll be able to play tomorrow – I’ll have to speak with the doctor and see the last training session.”
“I think that, at the moment, Fabregas can be available for the bench. But I want to speak to him. I think it’s maybe better to have two days of training.”
Could John Terry join your coaching staff?
“I don’t know… the last time I have spoken with him, he told me that he wants to play for another season. But I don’t know now the situation. I am talking about a week ago. I don’t know the situation. But Chelsea is his home, of course.”
So you would be open for him to come?
“Yes, of course. For sure, he will be a point of reference for me. For everybody here, I think.”
Is there a chance of it happening?
“I don’t know. He told me a lot of things, that he wants to play. I don’t know. I’d have to speak to him.”
Will you speak to Terry again, now he has turned down Spartak Moscow?
“No, it’s up to him. If he wants to play for another season, I think it’s right that he tries to play. But, if he wants to help us, I’m really very happy.”
Are you talking about bringing Terry back as a player or as a coach?
“I think in the coaching staff, I think. Because, as I said before, I want to give space to the young players. Fortunately, we have very strong young players: Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, Ampadu… and I’d like to give them the right space.”
Why do you want him to be a coach here?
“Because, here, he’s a point of reference. Here is John Terry’s home. So he will be very important for everybody here. Only his presence.”
Would you ask him again next year?
“It’s up to him. It’s up to him. I am very open with him because he is the history of the club. He has won everything with the club, so it’s up to him.”
How impressed were you with Ethan Ampadu playing for Wales?
“I’m very happy for him. At the moment, for me, it’s not easy to give space to everyone. I have 28 players. But I hope, in the future, I think I will be able to give him space, to give a space to Hudson-Odoi, to Loftus-Cheek. They are very, very young and they are, for sure, the future of the club.”
What can he do to get into the side?
“In this first period, for me it was very important not to change especially the defensive line. But I hope in the future to be able to give space to everyone, even the defenders. In the first period, as you know, it’s very difficult to change the defensive line.”
What did you make of Neil Warnock’s comments over Tammy Abraham and Cardiff loan?
“I don’t know what to say. It was the player’s decision. Tammy, until two days before the deadline, wanted to stay here. On the last day there was an offer from Aston Villa and Tammy suddenly decided to go there. So I don’t know what to say about him.”
How has the international break been?
“I think it’s very difficult, very difficult for me and for every coach. I think also that FIFA has to change something for the national teams, because with four or five international breaks so long, it’s very difficult for us.
“Maybe the best thing to do is to put matches of the national teams at the end of the season.”
Did you go away?
“No, no, no. I stayed here all the time.”
Which teams can win the Premier League title?
“At the moment, I can answer Manchester City or Liverpool. At the moment.”
“We need another step, I think, to be at the same level. I think so [that this season is too soon for Chelsea], I hope not. It’s very difficult to close a gap of 30 points at the beginning of the season. To close that gap in only one season is very difficult. But I think also we need to improve, and we can improve.”
How can you improve?
“Because my feeling is now we are not a very solid team in the defensive phase, of course. So I think we need to improve. And we can improve. My feeling during training is this team can improve.”
Cardiff a direct team…
“I think tomorrow will be a very difficult game because, mentally, the match after the break is always very difficult. Materially because we will play against a very physical team. So I think that, if we want to gain points, we need a very good performance tomorrow. It’s a difficult game for everybody to play against Cardiff, I think.”
Does it make it more difficult because people expect you to win?
“No, because, as I said, it’s very difficult materially. Tomorrow it’s very important for us to clear every ball, to play, to have a good distribution and good positions in the offensive phase, and to avoid counter-attacks. So, against a very physical team, a very aggressive side, I think it will be a very difficult test for us.”
Do you have any unusual fines? Watford have £100 per minute…
“I think it’s too much. £100 for every minute? That’s too much. As I said in every press conference, I think my players are professional.”
You father has told you to quit smoking, have you yet?
“At the moment, no. But my father told me to stop for the last 20 years, I think. He’s the only one who puts me in doubt, but unfortunately, at the moment, I am not able to stop.”
Would you like to stop?
“For one or two years, yes. No more. Then I’d like to start again.”
You said you would decide on full-time captain, has that been decided?
“No, no. I have my idea. I have decided, but I’d like to speak with the players before I tell you my decision. I’d like to space face to face to the club. At the moment, that’s not possible, so the captain is Azpilicueta. I’ll tell you the final decision after I have spoken to the players and the club.”
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